Most people equate all good wine coming out of Argentina with Mendoza. Perhaps if they are savvy with Salta also, but few know the wines of San Juan or have even heard of them. Strange that we found two Cabernet-Francs from San Juan (the province immediately north of Mendoza) that simply blew us away.

The first is from Vinos de los Andes, the same winery that brought you Anecon TorrontĂ©s from Salta (in the extreme North of Argentina). Beatriz Quiroga, the winemaker at Vinos de los Andes, was kind enough to share a bottle with us in the park when we went to visit her last week. It’s as if a layer of natural whipped cream with ripe red berries mixed in hovers over the top of this wine. A velvety mouthful of dark cherry and vanilla follows this delctible nose with a long finish that turns a bit more peppery. “Un vinasso!”

The other gem of a Cabernet-Franc from San Juan comes from our friend Pablo Lijtain, the owner of Finca Morera. Besides doing a fabulous oaked viognier (which is exclusive to Anuva) Pablo’s Cab-Franc stands out among all wines. Again, a rich butter-cream topping leads the nose with hints of vanilla extract. In the mouth, yellow cake batter and cream cheese frosting follow as do hints of red-fruit jam. “Un exito total!”